Hinkler MP says no apology is needed over robodebt

HINKLER MP Keith Pitt says the Federal Government has nothing to apologise for over the robodebt scheme, which will now see thousands of Australians refunded for wrongly being forced to pay back benefits.

The government announced on Friday that $720 million will be refunded for around 470,000 welfare debts thrown up by the scheme because of faulty income assessments made by the Australian Taxation Office.

Labor believes the government should be apologising for the distress it caused people.

But Mr Pitt told Sky News be believed there was nothing to apologise for when conducting oversight of a large government program.

"The biggest issue that gets raised with me and my office regularly is from Australians who are concerned about taxpayer support that perhaps has been provided inappropriately or for people who are making a claim that is not quite correct," he said.

NSW Labor senator Tim Ayres said he was unhappy about the timing of the announcement, coming shortly after Prime Minister Scott Morrison had finished a major press conference in which he made no reference to it.

"Last Friday was an announcement late on Friday afternoon about a $60 billion error in the government's JobKeeper scheme," Senator Ayres told ABC television.

"This Friday afternoon it is a $720 million bungled robodebt scheme."

But Mr Pitt disagreed with the accusation.

"Every day that ends with 'y' gets news coverage. In modern media it's a 24-hour news cycle, I don't think there are quiet periods," he said.



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